By Ross Uglem
As has been tradition with the Mike McCarthy-led Packers, the last day of mini-camp was used for a “team-building activity” instead of another practice. Last year, the team went out skeet shooting. After alleged shrapnel-related complications suffered by one of the equipment managers, McCarthy opted for a less-dangerous team activity this off-season: that of dodgeball at the Packers’ training center.
Captains were randomly selected and teams were drafted. The QBs came off the board early with receivers to follow. A surprising run of offensive linemen were then taken. While certainly not the most agile, their frames proved useful for hiding opposing skill position players. Speed players were taken next, with the rest of the picks withering down into the specialists.
The squad led by Aaron Rodgers was immediately considered the prohibitive favorite due to the former MVP’s rocket-ship arm and his general leadership qualities. Among Rodgers’ teammates were his good friend Brett Goode and Mason Crosby. As it turns out, Goode was surprisingly effective. Utilizing his long-snapping form, he was able to fire strikes from betwixt his legs, picking off opponents seemingly at will.
“Look, one thing that people don’t understand is that I really don’t need to look at my target. Do people really think that I have any idea where that red-headed guy is that I snap it to on specials? I find that to be a little bit of a ridiculous expectation. I just snap the ball and hope for the best. It got me this far, didn’t it?” said Goode.
Goode’s special teams’ counterpart, Crosby, was not as enthused about the competition.
“I’m a little upset they stopped letting me kick the ball. It’s way faster that way. I let one get away from me that finds its way off the wall and onto Coach Capers’ nose, and all of the sudden everyone’s upset.”
The final match pitted Rodgers’ squad against a receiving-heavy team that included Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Jermichael Finley – well-suited for catching opponent’s throws. As you know, Section A., Rule 4 of the Competitive Dodgeball Association states “When a player catches an opposing throw, that opponent is out. The teammate on the receiver’s squad shall immediate reinstate the player who has been out the longest to active game participation.”
The championship ended in dramatic fashion. Finley was left in a one-on-two situation against Rodgers and recently reinstated Johnny Jolly. For most of the day, Rodgers had been making hay using the wide-framed Jolly as a screen. But while Finley was able to pelt #97 in the jugular, eliminating Rodgers’ protection, he immediately lost focus. He broke in to his “YOTTO” TD celebration and was subsequently and unceremoniously drilled in the midsection by the Super Bowl XLV MVP, ending the competition.
As we’re accustomed to seeing, Rodgers was extremely appreciative of his teammates and attributed the credit for the victory to them.
“Defense wins championships. I’m glad we were able to go out there and take care of the dodgeball and play our game. At the end of the day, I'm just wanted to give it 110%, like Cary Elwes did in ‘The Princess Bride.’ You ever see that one? Great, great movie. I met Cary once, actually. Nice guy.”
You can follow Ross Uglem, aka “D3 Hack” on Twitter as @Rug_pHd12